April 13, 2006 – Last Friday evening and night we had a very pleasant visit with Jo Ann’s late sister’s nephew, Johnny Baker, and his wife Julie of Columbus.
We feel very close to them even if we seem to see them only at family funerals and such.
So we were delighted to see them, though the trip was ostensibly for him to look over some pistols that Jo Ann had inherited from her father and uncle of Macon.
Johnny, who has an insurance agency in Columbus, is an avid outdoorsman and knows much more about guns than I do. I guess I am kind of like Jo Ann. When I have tried to get her to fire the .32 caliber Smith and Wesson her father insisted we needed just after we married, she has always replied that she is sure she can pray better than she can shoot.
But anyway the gun is loaded and handy to where we sleep behind locked doors.
Not only did we have a good visit, it also prodded me to pursue the vintage of a single-action .45 caliber Colt “Frontier Six Shooter,” which may have been manufactured in 1902, according to a letter Uncle J. C. Scott had received from the National Rifle Assn. in 1980.
The man at NRA had suggested J.C. send the serial number and a check for $15 to Colt to get a record for the gun.
From the letter he received, J.C. had apparently advised NRA that he thought it was an experimental gun made from a metal that would not rust.
It is still not rusted, but the surface metal is slightly pitted. The NRA correspondence also asked J.C. that if the gun was experimental, how he got it.
I don’t think he ever told me where it came from, but he was a gun dealer in Macon, MS, selling and trading mostly for shotguns and rifles.
Johnny suggested the letter might have scared him for there is no evidence he ever pursued the matter.
I opined that it was the $15 they wanted that stopped him from replying, not the suggestion of wrongdoing.
Anyway I wrote a letter to Colt giving then the serial number and advising that the gun was magnetic and therefore not Monel, an alloy of copper and nickel, that J. C. seemed to have expected from the letter.
To see if the gunmetal was magnetic, I took the magnet used to check my pacemaker battery every month or so on the telephone. It jumped in my hand as it neared the gun. It was magnetic, not Monel.
I am reasonably sure he never pursued it, for he would have shown us any further correspondence if he had received any.
Jo Ann’s father was by far the better shot among her brother-in-law Billie Baker, J.C or me.
We all bird-hunted with 12 gauge shotguns, but Mr. Scott used a .410 gauge Browning automatic, which he seldom fired but once on a covey rise.
One afternoon fairly late I watched as he aimed over two of the quail and waited for them to “cross.” He fired and down came two birds. If it had not been for J.C. and Billie shooting three times with no results, I might have given up the sport. But I haven’t given up on the lineage of the Frontier six-shooter.
•On the last day of March a regional daily newspaper reported on the front of the “B” section that a scientific study had found that prayer had not benefited a control group of heart by-pass patients.
Not only that, but one of the researchers wondered if the knowledge that they were being prayed for put some patients under more stress—that they must be worse than they thought if folks felt they needed prayer.
My first reaction was “Why would anyone conduct such a study?”
That’s not exactly true for my first reaction really was “Bull.”
I have never had a bypass, but I have a metal heart valve.
I know that prayer helped me, and I felt no stress when someone in the room suggested that we pray.
I had experienced this much earlier than the valve replacement, by at least 10 years, when I was involved in a head-on auto crash south of Oxford and was sent to the MED in Memphis on Wings, one of their helicopters.
On the day I was sent to a regular room, with my crushed pelvis, broken ribs, burst bladder, etc., the phone rang and I managed to answer it.
It was a female who identified herself as a minister, but she said she was calling for someone who had just checked out.
“I just called to pray with him,” she said. “You can pray for me,” I said.
“Are you white?” she asked. I had already picked up on her being African-American.
“Yes,” I admitted, “but you can pray for me anyway.”
And she did, a beautiful prayer that even if it may not have made me feel better, did distract me from the pain.